Saturday, September 15, 2012

ORKS


So, I knocked out that hORKie the other week, and had a pretty good time doing it.  That meant that I needed to paint more (and for myself).  So I did!

I'm incredibly pleased with the way I paint Ork flesh.  This time around, I tried to stick solely to the new Citadel paints; I had a lot more luck this time than I did when I tried converting my Empire paint scheme to them.  I'll regurgitate my painting notes at the end of the post.


I really love these guys.  They're so characterful.  It makes me a little bummed that I've got a pile of Mantic Orcs; they're nice, but they just don't compare.




All in all, it took me about three weeks to knock these guys out.  That sounds much, much worse than it really is, though: there was a lot of time in there that I couldn't paint, a lot of time waiting to pick up new paints, etc.  They actually sat varnished but unbased for a week, because I couldn't decide how I wanted to base them: Dark, mid, light grey like my Dark Angels? Cryx Base, Cryx Highlight, Khaki like my Skaven (the best most awesome color set in the world)?

In the end, I decided to go with a Martian, red clay base, which didn't come out perfect... but came out okay enough.


Sigmar knows I've got a heap of more Boyz in the bitz closet: I certainly could paint more.  For the time being, though, I think I'm going to stop at 10.  I painted them for fun, and I'd just assume not turn a one-off project into a 180-model grind.  

Not just yet, at least.


Anyway, paint notes, if'n you're interested.

Ork Flesh
GW Caliban Green basecoat
GW Loren Forest layer
GW Straken Green highlights
GW Elysian Green hightlights (face only)
2:2:2:2:1:1 - Water, Matte Medium, GW Athonian Camoshade, GW Waywatcher Green, GW Seraphim Sepia, GW Agrax Earthshade

Teeth
P3 Hammerfall Khaki basecoat
P3 Menoth White Base layer
P3 Menoth White highlight
GW Reikland Fleshwash wash

Yellow
GW XV-88 basecoat
GW Averland Sunset layer
VMC Sand Yellow highlight
GW Cassandora Yellow wash

Black 
P3 Thamar Black basecoat
GW Skavenblight Dinge highlight

Leather
GW Rhinox Hide basecoat
GW Mournfang Brown layer
GW XV-88 highlight
GW Agrax Earthshade wash

Steel
GW Leadbelcher basecoat
GW Runefang Steel highlight
3:3:2:1 - Water: GW Asurmen Blue, Matte Medium, P3 Armor Wash

Base
GW Skrag Brown basecoat
GW Jokero Orange overbrush
GW Tau Light Ochre drybrush
5:5:1:1 GW Fuegan Orange, GW Seraphim Sepia, Water, Matte Medium

Friday, September 14, 2012

Building an O&G List


So, taking stock of my Mantic Kickstarter loot, I'm trying to figure out exactly what I want to do with it.

Goals, in order of priority:
  1. Maximize use of the models I have / I'm getting from Mantic.  
  2. Building a good, strong list.
  3. Use Mantic models, where possible, if additional purchases are required
  4. Not have to paint a billion models
What I've got from Mantic, with what's probably the best counts-as:
  • Warboss on Boar (Krudger on Gore)
  • BSB (Orc Flagger)
  • Orc Boyz x80 - Choppas [, Shields] (Axe Orcs)
  • Orc Boyz? x20 - Halberds (Greatax Orcs)
  • Black Orcs x10 (Orc Morax)
  • Orc Boar Boyz x30 - [Shields] (Orc Gore Riders)
  • Snotlings x~3 (Orclings)
  • Goblins x80 - Short Bows (Goblin Spitters)
  • Goblins x60 - [Shields] (Goblin Rabble)
  • Goblins x40 - Spears (Goblin Sharpsticks)
  • Goblin Spear Chukka? x3 (Goblin War Trombone)
  • Squigs x10 (Mawbeast Pack)
  • Nasty Skulker x1 (Goblin Sneek)
  • Mangler Squig x1 (Goblin and Mawbeast)
  • Goblin Wolf Riders x10 (Fleabag Riders)
  • Snotling Pump Wagon x2 (Mincer)
I've also got a couple of Orc and Goblin shamans.

So, now that I've defined what I want to do and what I have available to do it with... what exactly am I going to do?

Of course, I don't really have too firm a grasp of what does and doesn't work with O&G.  I've seen how other folks have run them (lots of Mangler Squigs, lots of Fanatics, lots of Night Goblins), which isn't exactly what I'd like to do.  I very much favor Orcs over Goblins, as I already have two armies (Skaven, Empire) of substandard troops that rely on numbers rather than murtherin'.  (See #4 above.)

Here's a first stab.  Mostly its about taking a big ass block of Boar Boyz: I've got a heap of them, and I'm not used to running cavalry, so it's something new.  Plus, it saves me from painting 120 Goblins.
Lords
Grimgor Ironhide (General)
Goblin Great Shaman - Lvl 4, Channeling Staff, Talisman of Endurance

Heroes
Orc Big Boss (BSB) - War Boar, Shield, Rampager's Standard
Black Orc Boss - Shield
Black Orc Boss - Shield
Goblin Big Boss - Light Armor, Shield, Shrieking Blade
Orc Shaman - Dispel Scroll

Core
Goblin Wolf Riders x5 - Musician
Night Goblins x39 - Full Command, Fanatics x2
Orc Boyz x24 - Musician, Standard Bearer, Shields
Orc Boyz x24 - Musician, Standard Bearer, Shields

Special 
Goblin Spear Chukka
Goblin Spear Chukka
Goblin Spear Chukka
Orc Boar Boyz x20 - Full Command, Big 'Uns, Banner of Eternal Flame

Rare
Goblin Rock Lobber
Mangler Squig
Snotling Pump Wagon - Out-rigga
Snotling Pump Wagon - Out-rigga
The thought being that the Goblin Boss & Goblin Shaman go in the Night Goblins, a Black Orc goes in each Orc Boyz unit, one with the Orc Shaman.  Grimgor and the BSB go in the Boar Boyz.

Everything here is in the Mantic rewards, save for the BSB on boar and the Rock Lobber.

Thoughts?  Some glaring error or omission?

Friday, September 7, 2012

NoVA Open 2012 - Part 3 - Retrospective


So, I've got what feels (to me) like a good handful of thoughts about what worked and what didn't with the NoVA; enough to merit rattling them off into their own post.  It is important to be clear that this is all presented in the spirit of constructive criticism: I appreciate everyone's hard work (and the folks involved worked really, really hard)  and I had a great time this weekend. I'm not actually unhappy about anything.

Also, because it's not constructive to just point out something that needs improvement and leave it at that, I'm going to make sure to include a proposed fix for things that I think need work.

Anyway, I did one of these last year. That seems as good a place as any to start.

What Worked (last year):
  • Paint Scores - I didn't see any and wasn't told about any of the paint criteria this year.  Although I doubt they changed it, I can't comment on this one.
     
  • Format - The format... was different this year.  There was no sportsmanship this year; I'd have liked that to persist.  I had some really great games, and I'd have liked to reflect that with a score.  More significantly, I'm growing deeply leery of the lack of a comp score.  I'm tired of hearing, "Well, there's no comp score, so I guess I'm supposed to bring a beatstick."  Comp's a big, complicated subject, but I would like to see beatstick lists disincentivized.
     
  • Raffles - I don't believe they did any raffling in the Fantasy room.  If they did, they were extremely sneaky about it.  There were a ton of raffles at the end of the weekend (more on that), though.  Nobody should have walked away without something. I'm going to have to assume that non-40K players weren't second-class citizens and were equally eligible for door prizes throughout the weekend, as they were at the end.
     
  • Terrain - I'd have preferred Mysterious Terrain, but I accept that it's a hassle and makes Table A and Table B different (which is a stated thing to avoid).  I forget how we did it last year.
     
  • Hotel - They really stepped it up this year.  They dropped the prices, had more accessible food, improved cell signal.  Same venue: better than last year.
What Could have Used Improvement (last year):
  • Intercom System - They moved Fantasy up two floors.  Boom; not a problem any more.  Our space was quiet enough for everyone to play their game without interruption.  Fixed.
     
  • Schedule - Schedules were printed and, kinda-sorta-for-the-most-part adhered to. At the beginning, however, we were given instruction that there would be no time limit, to prevent slow-play, and that the games would take what they took. That wasn't exactly how things worked out, but it was close.  That helped save us from the "5 minutes left" problem I had last year.
     
  • Cell Signal - Not a problem at all this year.  Fixed.
     
  • Food - The hotel had a hotel-priced (aka "expensive") but reasonable (aka "not nearly as expensive as it could have been") food stand outside of the 40K area.  This went a long way towards mitigating any problems from last year.  Fixed.
So, pretty much everything that stood out last year: still a thing this year.  Everything I thought needed fixing last year: fixed.  It should be clear that responsiveness and improvement is a laudable, essential thing in a big event like this.

So, for this year:

What Worked:
  • Vendors - There were more vendors this year. The War Store had Dark Vengeance on Saturday. There was a guy selling Osprey books (he only had one I needed, and I think he forgot to check his stock for Matchlock Musketeer and English Civil War Fortifications for me, but I can't fault him too much for that).  One of the sponsors, Grex, had  a booth set up for folks to test their airbrushes.
     
  • 5 Hour Energy - 5 Hour Energy sponsored the weekend.  They just gave them away, free the whole time. I should have taken more advantage of that: I might have won Game 3. :)
     
  • Closing Ceremony - It was nice to put every system's achievement in front of everyone else.  I liked that.  Also, as I said, everyone there walked away with something.  Literally.
     
  • Painting Contest - This is a good addition to the weekend.
     
  • Seminars - So were these.
What Could Have Used Improvement:
  • Scenarios - Have you seen them?  They're boring.  They're all Pitched Battle + some special objectives that don't have much of an impact on the way you play the game.  The point of each game is to kill as much as the other guy as possible and, oh hey +2 Battle Points because of X.  The other book missions are in there for a reason; I hate Dawn Attack and Meeting Engagement, sure, but Battle for the Pass might have been a welcome change of pace and Blood and Glory and Watchtower (which wouldn't have worked b/c of the "Buildings are Impassable" rule, but still) have a healthy impact on how you build your list.

    Furthermore, the line-of-sight, level rule change did nothing but cause confusion.  It solved no disputes, only introduced them.  It's a bad, regressive rule.

    Proposed Fix: Better, more varied scenarios. Take a lesson from the 40K side of the house, which emphasizes different ways of winning besides, "I killed him harder than he killed me."  Drop the level based LOS rule.
     
  • Score Sheets - The score sheets had the scenarios and bonus objective rules written on them. This is great.  It's the only great thing about them, however.  They were woefully incapable of capturing the sort of data you want on a score sheet.  A score sheet needs to capture:

    • Player Name
    • Opponent's Name (or at the very least Table #)
    • Player VP Opponent's VP (it's too easy a checksum to not capture)
    • Player Result (Major Victory, etc)
    • Player Battle Points
    • Opponent's Battle Points (again, too easy a checksum to ignore)
    • Breaking up Battle Point sources into Scenario, Bonus, etc, could also be useful, but not necessary

    Instead, the sheet captured: Did you Win/Lose, Your Battle Points from the Mission, Your Battle Points from the Bonus Objectives, those two numbers added together.  Note that there's no space for your name on there, even.

    Proposed Fix: Do a better score sheet.  Identify the fields that need capturing and make sure there's a place for them.  I've already decided to work up something for them.
     
  • Post-Event Coverage - There's understandably a lot of noise about the weekend leading up to it and even doing it.  The 11th Company freaking broadcasts all weekend, including the championship games.  Awesome.  And then, after it's over, that's basically the last you hear of it from the NoVA team until the next year, and that drives me nuts.

    This should have been an item last year, even.  They had a staff photographer, who took pictures of all the different painting winners.  I have yet to see those photographs (I gave up looking for them after 3-4 months; I really wanted to see a pro photographer's pictures of my Skaven).  I mentioned the other day that I think Ken Stubbs won Undefeated?  It was a long day, so I don't trust my memory... but the scores for the weekend aren't posted anywhere.  That's nuts.

    There's a web presence, and it should be used before and after the event.

    Proposed Fix: Post the weekend's results, as soon as practically possible, to NovaOpen.com.  Ditto any official photographs.  A delay is understandable (a longer one for photos than for scores), but get 'em up there!
     
  • Paint Judging Locations - This year, 40K was on one floor and the other events were two floors up from it.  That meant the paint judging team expected Fantasy players to load up their display boards and somehow negotiate them down two floors via escalator or elevator to the 40K room for judging and then back up.

    That I didn't start dropping f-bombs on learning this is a testament to my respect for the guys doing the paint judging and an understanding that they were understaffed.

    Fantasy players have something between 2x and (given the number of flyers zipping around downstairs) 10x the minis that 40K players have. I'm shocked and thankful that nobody's army was utterly destroyed on the precarious and lengthy trip to the judging area.  Also, the lighting was much better in the Fantasy area.

    They came up and judged a few people's armies (including mine), because we complained.  I'm deeply thankful for that: I'm honestly not sure if I would have passed on being paint judged otherwise.

    Proposed Fix: Put paint judges in each area or, at least, on each floor play is taking place in. Because each army gets evaluated by more than one judge, swap them out.  Have Bob upstairs in the morning and then downstairs in the afternoon.

    Or, alternatively, have the paint judging team in different places at different times of day.  Before 1PM, the team will be here, afterwards, there. If the expectation is that someone is going to have to suck it up and risk their hard work negotiating the length of a busy hotel, that sucking up should be distributed amongst all of the players, not just a few of them.

    In a perfect world, there'd be some sort of schedule for paint judging... but I recognize and accept that that's not the case at all. It'd be hopelessly impractical.

    At the very least, a solution must be found that doesn't require people to risk hundreds of dollars' worth of models and hours' worth of work shuttling their armies any farther than they must.
     
  • The Painting Contest - This was their first year for a standalone Painting Contest, so I think a lot of slack is called for.  There were some really strong entries in it, I think, so I don't feel anything but happiness for the folks that won.  However (and this is a two-parter):

    1 - I don't actually know what won.  I know who won, but because there were (rightfully) no names on the entries, I don't know what won four of the six categories.  The two I do know, I only know their painters and was able to track them down and ask.  (That's a lot of "knows.")

    This is a particularly visual competition, and there's a substantial disconnect between the person shaking hands and collecting the prize and what people want to know about how they won.

    Proposed Fix: Make sure to describe the winning entry, so folks can know what won.  If feasible (and maybe it's not), put a photo or two of the winners on a projector.

    2The competition rules were neither followed nor enforced.

    When I said "I'm not actually unhappy about anything" upthread, I lied. (Sorry about that.) I actually am unhappy about this, because it meant that I only had two entries instead of four.  I don't think they'd have done any better, but for me that's not the point.  (I have a realistic enough opinion of my painting skills that I my primary source of pride comes from competing in, not winning this sort of thing.)  I was unable to submit as many entries as other contestants, because I read the rules and expected them to be followed.

    As a refresher, at the Golden Daemon, I tried entering my Fimir (on a 40mm base) into Single Mini, and it was bumped to Monster.  "40mm bases and up," I was told, "are too large for Single Mini."  So, when it came time to figure out what I'd enter here, I read the rules, and saw clear as day "Single miniature, roughly human sized, 25mm to 32mm on a 40mm or smaller base."  I didn't have anything I wanted to enter on a larger base (that I wouldn't be using in the tournament), so I didn't enter anything in the SFB and FRB categories.

    You can just imagine my chagrin when I later learned how the first pick for the SFB was on a 40mm base.  Or that many of the entries were on 40mm bases.  I expect the winner was probably on one as well but because I don't know what the actual winning entry was (see above), I can't be sure.  The winner of the FRB category, I could have sworn, was a diorama.

    Some of the judges complimented Michael Shaefer (who won Best in Show with his awesome diorama) that he'd been the only person who read the rules: everyone else submitted units on Golden Daemon-style unit bases and that they'd called for "dioramas." Not to detract from Michael's well-deserved victory, but the rules also called for a "Diorama of 3 -10 miniatures" and unless I missed something (which is possible), I only saw two figures in his diorama, not the three.  No, nobody followed the rules.

    At the time, I'd thought, "Yeah, the rules should have been more clear." Now that I'm rereading them for the purposes of this post, though, they're perfectly, unambiguously clear.  They're maybe a little hard to find on the site, ("Creativity & Painting" -> "Painting Contest" -> "More Details" -> "Painting Contest Rules" and then "Eligibility, Requirements, and Additional Information"), but not that hard.

    The stakes for this contest are huge: big, big prizes.  They're too big to play fast and loose with the rules.  Games Workshop sticks to their rules big time, and the Golden Daemon prizes don't have nearly the same dollar value attached to them.

    I'm certainly happy for all of the winners and content with my performance. I'm just steamed over the disconnect between the rules and the actual contest.  To be honest, the more I think about it, the more steamed I get, so I'm going to try to forget about it as soon as I'm done with this post. :)

    Proposed Fix: I accept that, hey, if nobody followed the rules for two categories you either have to throw out those rules and let people compete with what they brought, or say, "Well, all of you people failed at reading comprehension.  No valid entries."

    One is more fair than the other.  If you're going to discard the rules and let folks enter with whatever they brought, you're doing a disservice to the folks who read actually the dang rules and chose not to try to submit an illegal entry.  You're rewarding the folks who didn't read the rules or read the rules and didn't care.  If, at the last minute, you decide to allow units on unit bases, you're cheating all of the folks who'd have entered a unit on a unit base but didn't because they were initially told they couldn't.

    I believe the only fair option is to 1) enforce the rules and 2) reject entries that don't meet them.  The stakes are far, far too large to place

    3 - It's also curious that it wasn't worked into the closing ceremony.  Given that the prizes involved are Big Time, I'd think they'd merit everybody's attention.  Not that the ceremony needed to be longer, though...
     
  • Closing Ceremony - Ran... long.  It started something like 30 minutes late (unfortunate, but these things happen), and went what? an hour and a half?  It certainly felt like most of that was due to people winning raffles and not being there to claim them... or the person after them... or the person after them... or the person after them...  etc.

    I get that it was a long weekend, and not everyone wanted to hang around for even longer, but jeez.

    And really, there wasn't much in the way of wasted time besides the calling names and waiting for folks to (not) shout, "Right here!"

    Proposed Fix: None.  I don't think there's anything that should have been excised from the ceremony (heck, I just suggested moving something new into it), and there's nothing you can do about people packing up and leaving. 

Really, except for only being able to enter two minis to the painting contest instead of four, I'm not actually unhappy about anything.  Pretty much everything I called out as working well from last year was present this year.  Everything I called out as needing improvement last year was improved this year.  I have confidence that I'll be saying the same thing next year.

I had a fantastic time this weekend, and am very, very much looking forward to next year.

The rest of the weekend:
And, with that, I think I'm done writing about NoVA 2012. :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

NoVA Open 2012 - Part 2 - Game Reports


The Fantasy GT was originally scheduled to be six games but, because some folks dropped out and no-showed (I assume), only the five games were necessary.

I ran my Skaven (which I think we all knew was happening, right?).  It was my usual list, further tweaked a little bit to (hopefully) better handle Ogres.
Lords
Warlord (General) - War-Litter, Weeping Blade, Enchanted Shield, Luckstone
Grey Seer - Talisman of Preservation

Heroes
Chieftain (BSB) - Shield, Armor of Destiny
Plague Priest - Plague Furnace, Flail, Dispel Scroll, Ironcurse Icon
Warlock Engineer - Doomrocket
Warlock Engineer - Death Globe, Ruby Ring of Ruin

Core
Clanrats x30 - Full Command, Shields
- Warpfire Thrower
Skavenslaves x44 - Champion, Musician, Shields
Stormvermin x20 - Full Command, Storm Banner
- Warpfire Thrower

Special
Gutter Runners x6 - Poison, Slings
Gutter Runners x6 - Poison, Slings
Plague Monks x31 - Full Command, Plague Banner

Rare
Hellpit Abomination
Warp Lightning Cannon
Warp Lightning Cannon
No surprises there, right?

The Weeping Blade never really came up, but it never felt like a waste.  The second cannon worked out brilliantly.  The second Engineer with the globes and ruby ring was crap.  I might have gotten more use out of the ring (maybe), but the globes were a waste.  I'd have gotten far more mileage out of a ward save on my Priest.

Anyway, as I said the other day, "Five games total, three really great games, four really fun games, and one game that wasn't all that great (but hey, could have been a lot worse)."  With five games, you're bound to have at least a bad game or two, my low this weekend was "Not great but not bad."

Plus, given that the field was something like 60% Ogre Kingdoms: only one game against them is pretty shocking/fortunate.  High fives all around.

Unfortunately, while I've got everyone's army lists, I failed to note VPs or even game results.  I can't seem to find the results/standings anywhere, so I'm going from memory here on those.

Game 1 - Michael Shaefer's Lizardmen


Lords
Slann (General, BSB) - Becalming Cogitation, Focused Rumination, Cupped Hands,

Heroes
Skink Priest - Blood Statuette of Spite, Dispel Scroll

Core
Saurus Warriors x40 - Full Command, Spears
Skink Skirmishers x10
Skink Skirmishers x10
Skink Skirmishers x10

Special
Chameleon Skinks x8
Kroxigor x5 - Champion
Temple Guard x20 - Full Command, Glittering Scales (Champion)

Rare
Razordons x2 - Skinks x8
Salamanders x2 - Skinks x8
Salamanders x2 - Skinks x7

During the pre-tournament milling about and army-gazing, I stopped by Michael's army and chatted the longest by far.  It's gorgeous; I wasn't surprised at all when he won one of the painting contest awards (Best Diorama) or when he won Best in Show.  He's an extremely talented painter.



I did remark on how many Salamanders & Razordons he had: "I hope I don't have to play you!"  So, of course I did, first round.

Michael's a local guy that I hadn't really met before.

It was a great way to start the tournament.  I've got a high opinion of my army's appearance, and two great lookin' armies throwing down is our hobby at its best

The game was kind of slow paced. While it's nice to know that I've gotten faster at playing (I know it's a problem I've had), it does make me much more aware of when my opponent has to take a lot of time to think things through.

A couple of stand out moments:
  • Plague Monks smacking into the Temple Guard and just about obliterating them.  Man, those rats hit hard when they want to.

  • Michael getting a mite too clever in trying to pin down the Abomination (by keeping him from changing his facing), but ensuring his Salamanders overshot him with their fiery breath
It was a good, fun game against a really nice guy with a gorgeous army.  What's not to love?

In the end, although it looked like I'd just about tabled him, between not being able to (fully) take out his Saurus Warriors and the pretty severe casualties he'd inflicted on me, it was much closer than I'd have expected.  Still,

Game 2 - Eric McKee's Orcs & Goblins

Lords
Orc Warboss (General) - Wyvern, Charmed Shield, Dragonbane Gem, Potion of Strength, Sword of Bloodshed

Heroes
Black Orc Big Boss - Armor of Silvered Steel
Goblin Big Boss (BSB) - Gigantic Spider, Light Armour, Enchanted Shield, Sword of Striking
Night Goblin Big Boss - Great Cave Squig, Great Weapon, Light Armour, Dragonhelm
Orc Shaman - War Boar, Dispel Scroll

Core
Forest Goblin Spider Riders x5 - Musician
Forest Goblin Spider Riders x5 - Musician
Goblin Wolf Riders x5 - Musician, Shields
Goblin Wolf Riders x5 - Musician, Shields
Night Goblins x30 - Full Command, Netters
- Fanatics x3
Orc Boyz x30 - Full Command, Shields

Special 
Goblin Spear Chukka
Goblin Spear Chukka
Night Goblin Squig Herd x13 - Herders x7
Night Goblin Squig Hoppers x5
Orc Boar Chariot
Savage Orc Boar Boyz - Musician, Standard, Big 'Uns, Spear, Shield,
Snotlings x2
Trolls x3

Rare
Giant
Mangler Squig

Eric's a fellow CGL'er (even if he doesn't make it out to play all that much), and we've played more than a few times before.  He's got a really cool Orc & Goblin army that's all-squig.  Dang near everything's converted up to be squig-like.  It works really well, I think.

Unfortunately, his army's still optimized for 7th edition with MSU units out of the wazoo.  Between an unreasonable number of failed Stupidity checks and a couple of lucky rounds of shooting on my part, and the game's outcome was pretty clear early on.

We plugged along through the game anyway, though, and he ended up doing better than he expected.  Even though he lost, he managed to make up a lot of points and close the gap quite a bit.

It was a good, fun game and, despite the beating he took, I think Eric had an alright time, too.  If there'd been a sportsmanship vote, he'd have gotten mine.

Game 3 - Ken Stubbs' Warriors of Chaos

Lords
Sorcerer Lord (General) - Lvl 4, Death, Chaos Steed, Crown of Command, Spellshield, Talisman of Preservation

Heroes
Chaos Sorceror - Lvl 2, Death, Chaos Steed, Charmed Shield, Dragonbane Gem, Favor of the Gods, Infernal Puppet, Third Eye of Tzeentch
Exalted Hero (BSB) - Tzeentch, Chaos Steed, Shield, Biting Blade, Bronze Armour of Zhrakk, Dawnstone, Ironcurse Icon
Exalted Hero - Tzeentch, Chaos Steed, Halberd, Book of Secrets, Power Familiar

Core
Chaos Warhounds x5
Chaos Warhounds x5
Chaos Warriors x22 - Khorne, Full Command, Halberd, Shield, Rapturous Standard
Marauder Horsemen x5 - Slaanesh, Musician, Standard Bearer, Flails, Throwing Axes
Marauder Horsemen x5 - Slaanesh, Musician, Standard Bearer, Flails, Throwing Axes

Special
Chaos Knights x8 - Tzeentch, Full Command, Standard of Discipline

Rare
Chaos Warshrine - Tzeentch
Chaos Warshrine - Tzeentch
So, that happened.  IIRC, Ken went undefeated over the weekend.

I could ramble, I think, about how he brought a dickish, unfun army meant to winwinWIN... but I actually really enjoyed my game against him.  It was a tremendously unfun army to play against, yes, but he was a great guy to have across the table and we had a great time.  That's a lot more important, yes?

Also, the more I've thought about this game, the more convinced I am that if it hadn't have been the last game of the day, I'd have done much better.  I was seriously fried by the end of the day, and made a lot of pretty bad calls.  I'm not saying I'd have won, mind you, but it'd have been a lot closer (and maybe, just maybe it'd have been possible).

Ken'd come up with several Cobra Kai folks from North Carolina. (They're running Southern Assault in about a month, and there's a chance I'll make it down to to that.)

Anyway, out of the gate, he got some solid rolls from the Warshrines: giving his death star unit Stubborn and 4+ (3+ because of Tzeentch) and +1 Toughness from the get-go.

IIRC, I managed to kill everything save the death star cavalry unit and the two Warshrines.  (Warshrines make me lament Warp Lightning Cannons' variable strength.  If I didn't have to worry about maybe being Strength 2 or 4 or whatever, I'd just hammer away and look to an eventual failed ward save.)  He, of course, got most of my stuff.

The stand out moment, to me, was after he'd Purple Sun'd my Stormvermin down to the Warlord, Greyseer, and command.  Then, using Third Eye of Tzeentch, stole Curse of the Horned Rat and turned the unit into (his) Clanrats.  Very well played.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure this was a Major Loss for me.  He beat the crap out of me, but I still really enjoyed the game.  That says a lot about him, I think.

Game 4 - Brad Close's Daemons of Chaos

Lords
Bloodthirster (General) - Armour of Khorne, Firestorm Blade, Immortal Fury, Spell Breaker

Heroes
Herald of Khorne (BSB) - Armour of Khorne, Banner of Unholy Victory, Firestorm Blade
Herald of Slaanesh - Siren Song
Herald of Tzeentch - Flames of Tzeentch, Master of Sorcery (Life)

Core
Bloodletters x38 - Full Command, Icon of Endless War
Daemonettes x20 - Full Command, Banner of Ecstasy
Furies x5

Special 
Flamers of Tzeentch x6

Rare
Fiends of Slaanesh x6
Fiend of Slaanesh x1
Somehow, I failed to get a picture of Brad's army.

Brad quibbled about the rules, kind of a lot.  Unfortunately, that's something I respond to (and I respond to it by quibbling even more) and I'm sure that's something he responded to, resulting even more quibbling.  Quibblepocalypse.  So, there were kind of a lot of rules arguments during the game, and I hate that.

But hey, I've played in some bad games, and this was not one of them.  It was just argumentative and a little exhausting.  Those happen, and it was probably as much my fault as it was his.

Anyway, according to fellow club member Joey, Brad's a local guy who shows up at local RTT's occasionally.

The Abomination got into it with his block of fiends before the end of Turn 1 (they failed a Frenzy check) kept him safe from the Flamers (which were the old Flamers, not the new ones if you're wondering why numbers don't add up), which made a big difference.

Plague Monks killed the bejesus out of the horde of Bloodletters (like, for serious), which made me feel pretty good about myself.

Unfortunately, I was never able to kill the Bloodthirster.  The Herald of Tzeentch, of course, spent every turn healing him, which meant that I needed 5 wounds through his Toughness 6, 3+ Armour, 5+ Ward in a single round... and that just didn't happen.  I did manage to shut down the spell occasionally (including a very lucky double-6 dispel roll on three dice), but never for long enough to put him down.

I think this was just a Minor Loss.  He didn't have much on the table besides the Bloodthirster and the Daemonettes by the end, but it wasn't enough by a long shot.

Game 5 - Wesley Cogdal's Ogre Kingdoms

Lords
Slaughtermaster (General) - Lvl 4, Fencer's Blades, Glittering Scales, Dispel Scroll

Heroes
Bruiser (BSB) - Heavy Armour, Ironfist, Crown of Command, Dragonhelm
Firebelly - Hellheart

Core
Ironguts x9 - Standard Bearer, Lookout Gnoblar
Ogres x9 - Standard Bearer, Musician, Ironfist, Lookout Gnoblar

Special
Leadbelchers x8 - Musician
Mournfangs x3 - Standard Bearer, Musician, Heavy Armour, Ironfist
Sabretusk x1
Sabretusk x1

Rare
Ironblaster
Stonehorn
What a great way to end the tournament, huh?  I started the tournament playing against a great guy with a gorgeous army and ended it playing against a great guy with a gorgeous army.

Wesley's the guy behind Stiff Neck Studio, and he and his crew'd flown out from the Pacific Northwest to sponsor the NoVA.  I'm quite confident that that's why he didn't win best army: as a sponsor, he couldn't.


I mean, just look at that.

We had a great game.  It was low-key, relaxed, and friendly.  There was a lot of back and forth: it was a very close game.

Yes, it was an Ogre Kingdoms list, but it was a relatively soft one.  Only three Mournfangs, for example.  A Stonehorn (which isn't bad, but I'm not used to seeing them).  Just one Ironblaster.  No. Horde. Of. Ogres.

At the end of the game, I got very tactical and tricksy in terms of whittling him down and denying him points. For example, in my final turn, the Grey Seer went all in on a Skitterleap to get across the board and to safety: yes, he miscast, but at that point, there was no rat around him to care.

Unfortunately, during all of that over-thinking, I made a pretty big mistake.  It got down to his Stonehorn charging my Clanrats.  After a lot of deliberation, I fled with the Clanrats.  Huge mistake.  They ran farther than average, which put them through an Engineer-less Slave unit and off the table.  The Slaves panicked, and were off the table.  The Stornhorn shrugged and redirected into a Cannon, which it unsurprisingly obliterated.  So, rather than giving up 155 points from the Clanrats (which, furthermore, probably would have died, but dice are dice and you never know), I gave up those 155 points, plus 116 for the slaves and 90 for the cannon.


I lost by 196 points.  (If I'd chosen correctly, I'd have won by 10 points.)  That's an insanely close game.

A great opponent running a gorgeous army in a win-by-the-nose game: perfect.

Even though I didn't do nearly as well this year (2/3/0) as I did last year (4/1/0, Best Overall), I had an excellent time.  I'm pretty sure I enjoyed more of my games and more this year.

The rest of the weekend:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

NoVA Open 2012 - Part 1 - Overview


I had a great time this weekend at the NoVA.  As expected, I was unable to repeat last year's ridiculously successful showing, but I still did okay for myself and-- more importantly-- had a really great time.

Seeing as how I've got a lot to write about, I'm going to break things up into a few posts: an overview of the weekend today (obviously), followed by the usual game-by-game breakdown (actual pictures in that post, I swear!), and then finally a post where I'll look at how what needed improvement from last year's convention shook out, plus some comments about what did and didn't work with this year's.

Hobby

I had nothing going on on Friday save two hobby seminars run by MisterJustin from Secret Weapon Miniatures.  They were (relatively) early in the morning; ideally, I'd have done the other sessions, but there was just no time: these were basically the only slots that didn't have me up at the middle of the night or conflict with the GT.  Fortunately, traffic (and an unhelpful GPS) made me only 10 minutes late on the drive in from Manassas.

Anyway, Justin ran three seminars: airbrushing, weathering powders and basing.

The airbrushing seminar was very, very inspiring. I've needed something along these lines for a while: getting into airbrushing is hard, and while YouTube helps, it doesn't quite compare to having someone three feet away from you walking you through what they're doing and why.  I'm going to do more airbrushing, now.  It's gonna happen.  I think I'm going to start with some Dark Vengeance minis.

The weathering powders seminar was interesting, but exciting to me.  It doesn't help that I'm simply not all that nuts about having things super-weathered... or that I just had a lot of trouble getting the powders to behave the way I wanted them to.  Still, it's a neat technique, and nothing compares with having an expert walk you through what he's doing from feet away.  I wish I'd had a project that was ready for weathering; I'd have gotten a lot of mileage out of bringing it with me, I think.

What was far more interesting was the realization that doing decent weathering requires a holistic comprehension of the reality you're trying to replicate on the model.  Since the preceding example was probably barely English, the example he brought up a couple of times was: you need to understand that mud dries differently on the the hull of a tank (inside-out because the vehicle's engine makes the hull hot) than on the treads/wheels (outside-in because, hey, that's how mud dries).  Weathering requires far more thinking than just drybrushing Calthan Brown on your models' feet and calling it a day.

I passed on the basing seminar.  On reflection, I think I'd have gotten more value out of it than I would have from the weathering seminar.  I certainly had nothing keeping me from doing it.

Painting

This was the first year NoVA did a full-on, big deal painting contest.  At the last minute (Thursday night), I'd remembered this, so I read the rules (more on that later), grabbed some entries (my Dark Heresy character and a D&D antagonist that I'm really proud of).  As usual, nothing painted specifically for competition, just a, "Hey, there's a painting contest, I have no excuse not to enter something."

Although I couldn't tell you who won four out of the six categories (see: feedback, later), it was plain that there were a good couple of fistfuls of stronger entries than mine.  No shame in losing to competition that fierce.

The Tournament

I'll do a detailed breakdown of my games in my next post, but the short version is: I went 2/3/0.

I started the tournament on a great foot, and ended it on a great foot.  Five games total, three really great games, four really fun games, and one game that wasn't all that great (but hey, could have been a lot worse).  That's fabulous for a GT.

I won best fantasy single mini with my Ruby Ring of Ruin Warlock Engineer, which I was quite pleased with. As with the standalone painting contest, there was some really amazing competition.

Social

I got to catch up with a good handful of IFL guys that I haven't seen since probably last year's NoVA.  That was nice (even if it did have me up until stupid late on Saturday night).  Also saw a mess of other folks, like Bob that are great to hang out with that I only ever see at things like NoVA.

Between that, and meeting some new folks at the gaming table has really motivated me (as did the last tournament I played in) to get out and play with a wider selection of folks.  I've very much settled into a rut over the past year where I really only play against a small handful of people: I really need to change that.


The rest of the weekend:


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